Al-Sham Sweets & Pastries

Al Sham comes fresh with the fillo dough, offering up some of the best sweets you’ll find anywhere. Located in what is often referred to as the Little Egypt section of Astoria, and serving traditional Lebanese confections. What you’ll find here are an array of cookies and baklava coated in syrup or honey, overflowing with cashews, pecans and almonds. The majority of the offerings are very rich, but take it from someone who isn’t a huge fan of rich desserts, they’re outstanding. beyond the large selection of baklava and cookies there, you’ll find some interesting pastries, which are typically on the milder side. Kanafeh, for example, a really tasty cheese pastry, soaked in syrup and sprinkled with pecans.

As many on the internet have stated “EVERYTHING” here “is good.” I’ve been here dozens upon dozens of times and have yet to sample something I didn’t like. Prices are reasonable and the staff is nice as well.

I brought a platter of different items to a New Years Party and it was a big hit. If you do grab a large platter, I would recommend having it weighed out on there regular plates, as opposed to the prepackages they put together on the fancier plastic dish. It will save you about eight bucks.


I’ve been meaning to come here for years. My friend used to live in the building adjacent and this place always looked cool. What will first draws your attention is the outdoor seating that wraps along the outside, its on the corner. There is plenty of outdoor seating, which is always nice. After having been, and siting inside, I would say this place has good ambiance, and a great layout overall. I really like the wrap around bar.

Beyond the aesthetics and feel, I was interested in trying the food. Passing by it always looked good, but you never know of course. When I arrived my friends has already ordered apps, so ended up just getting a dinner item. On my friends suggestion I ordered the pappardelle with duck ragu.

I’ll say this, when I go back I will order this again, it was outstanding. Definitely get the duck ragu.

Photo by Carly Goldberg via Instagram

Minetta Tavern

Checked out Minetta Tavern last night for the famed Black Label Burger. We went without reservations, to see if we could get a seat at the bar. There weren’t any available when we got there around 6, but only had to wait about 20 minutes before some opened up. While we waited we sipped a couple of drinks from the cocktail menue the Murray Sour-Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky, Cardamom-infused Agave Nectar, Fresh Lemon & Orange and the Minetta T-Punch-Rhum JM VSOP, Sirop de Canne Fresh Mint & Lime. I liked the T-Punch most out of the two, though it wasn’t a large portion, about a third of the tumbler it was served in. The Murray Sour was also good, and a much larger portion.

We ordered both the Black Label Burger and the Minetta Burger and split them. Both were good, but the Black Label is the superior burger here. It is ultimately savory and decedent, and when I go back I’ll forgo the Minetta Burger and just get this. I got a Founders Pale Ale with the meal and found it to be a good pairing. Burgers are served with a large portion of thinly cut fries, and when you finish the last pomme frite I’m betting you’ll be full.

Beyond this the atmosphere will transport you to an old New York, when I was there I heard two separate people reference the God Father. I would suggest maybe going when its less crowded, the guy in the sports coat next to me elbowed me several times. I could have done without that.

Photo by Briana K via Instagram

Sac’s Place

Sac’s is your classic pizza parlor/restaurant and they really got this combo down. I’ve been going here for some time just for the pie, which you can just grab a slice and sit. You can often gauge the quality of a restaurants offerings if you catch the neighborhood cops dropping in for a bite, and I’ve seen them frequent Sac’s often. The pizza is real good.

People have always told me I should check out the restaurant side, and for a while I put it off. Well, having been twice in the past six months I have to recommend checking it out for yourself. The food is really spectacular, and I rarely use this adjective unless I’m referencing Spiderman (The Spectacular Spider-man title from Marvel). Really everything I’ve had here has been great, and I would check out the specials menu for sure. Anything with a cream sauce is the way to go.

I would definitely say that you should take a note from the B-52’s and Rock Lobster. The lobster and crab ravioli with shrimp and brandy cream sauce is truly a delight. I think the shrimp they serve is soaked in butter, I’ll leave it at that.

Photo by Jessa Bahr via Instagram

Super Taste

China town, and Eldridge Street in particular, is home to some of the cities best low key reasonable eateries. Super Taste can certainly count itself among them. As you walk down Eldridge, try not to blink or you might miss it. Like many of the shops its nondescript storefront is easy to pass. I suggest following the street numbers.

Known for its hand pulled noodle soups, I decided it might be good to check it out one icy night a couple of weekends ago. As promised by many reviewers, and a close friend, the soup I got didn’t disappoint. I got the duck, and found the broth to be really tasty. My companion got the beef, also good and without bones. It should be noted that the soup is more than enough food for most people. I was genuinely surprised at the amount of noodles they packed in. This makes for an exceptional value.

Beyond the soup, we also split the Oxtail with rice, which I wouldn’t recommend. If you feel you need something beyond the soup, maybe try the dumplings. I wish we had.

Photo by hungryan_ via instagram

Point Brazil

Typically you can find me running the other direction from a buffet place, but Point Brazil is one of the rare buffet places thats actually good. The food is Authentic Brazilian fare (This was confirmed by a Brazilian friend who I took once) and is made fresh daily. Lots of vegetables, yams, plantains, salad, black beans, rice. They have chicken and fish as well in the buffet area, and dishes change each day with your main staples always available.

Once you’ve finished with the assortment of items here, head over to the carving station. You’ll be able to pick from 7 or 8 different roasting meats, all spinning on a spit. They have beef, pork, chicken wrapped in bacon, and some not so run of the mill items like chicken hearts.

When you finish, your food is weighed, and I have always found it to be really fair value. It should ring up to between eight and ten dollars. Beyond this there is plenty of seating, and even outdoor seating in the warm months. This is a really dope spot.

Tip, grab the green hot sauce from the buffet station and apply as needed .

Out Latin Food

I go here for lunch from time to time. The lunch special is reasonable, coming in under eight bucks, and filling. I currently take a class twice a week after work, so I need a large lunch to sate my appetite. This works. I have yet to try the mexican offerings, but the latin lunch platter is pretty good. I suppose my taste buds are nostalgic for these flavors since leaving Washington Heights for Queens. Rice, beans, beef stew, hot sauce you can’t go wrong.

Sake Bar Hagi

Off the busy streets near Times Square, down a narrow flight of stairs you’ll find Sake Bar Hagi. I’ve been going to this Izakaya for years now. Back when Ben first took me here, you could buy a bottle of Sake, have them write your name on it with a sharpie, and come back later to sip from that bottle once again. Really a great business model, but one that has been discontinued, for reasons legal I can almost be sure of.

This review isn’t to lament about the good old days, Sake Bar Hagi is still great, and the food still flatters. An Izakaya is a place for patrons to relax, have a few spirits, and unwind from work. All the while taking in small plates of food. It’s kind of like a pub, or maybe a tapas place, but of course its distinctly Japanese.

Sake(as the name implies) still very much flows, even if you can’t tag up a bottle for future consumption,the selection is good. Not in the mood for Sake, these types of establishments always have beer as well. Hagi has the typical, Sapporo, Kirin and some legacy foreign and domestic options. But of course we come here for the food, and there are a wide range of options. Yakatori is on offer, so chicken/beef/vegetable skewers. Similar to the skewers is the short rib, think LA galbi, think definitely worth it.

Sushi and shashimi abound, as well as other fish preparations. I got the mackerel last time, it was grilled, cooked perfect. You can also get dishes such as uni if your looking for something not typically on offer. I got the uni, okonomiyaki and I was all set.

Manhattan Japanese Bar


Chandni Restaurant

It’s Thursday, I’m on my way downtown for a job interview, and decide I’ll head over the the Ace Hotel as my meeting is nearby. After a hair cut, shower, and getting ready I realize I’m hungry but don’t have time to eat lunch before I head out. Where to go… then it hits me, I recall a place I used to go years back, and its right across the street from the Ace.

Situated in the garment district along 29th sits Chandni. Up a flight of stairs, left through the doors and your ready to order Indian|Pakistani fare with efficiency. Prepared dishes of chicken curry, saag panneer, Samosas, Goat Pulao, and on and on from an extensive menu. At a loss for words? Don’t know what to order? In either case just point. The food here is simple, quick, and above both of these good.

I was happy to be back here, maybe it was a bit of nostalgia, but I found the atmosphere inviting. When I sat down I also realized, its patrons are a great cross section of New Yorkers from one walk or another. Its quite (enough for a young professional woman to be tapping away on her lab top), yet a good place to chat with your friends (I overheard some gentleman talking about a service dog that someone kept with them at all times, but only for emotional support).

Of course, I came for the grub, and I decided to get a bit of what I used to typically order. So I ordered the naan, a kabab, and a chicken role. I also opted to try something new, so I got the allo tikki, a ground potato patty with herbs/spices. Chandni has lots of vegetarian options, so its definitely a good choice if thats you. I would also stress that its extremely reasonable, and prices haven’t changed much since I was last here years back. In the book I keep on pluses, reasonable cost is big. As I sat and quietly ate my lunch, dipping each bit into the raita sauce that I requested extra of, I realized, my lunch time stars had aligned.

Chivito De Oro

I’ve lived near this Uruguayan restaurant for about two years, and have been on several occasions. I have to say this place is what its all about. Traditional fair, at a reasonable price, and did I mention its scrumptious. If you’re wondering what Uruguayan food might be like, it might be apt to compare it to directly to Argentine food. If you aren’t familiar with either, simply put, its grilled meat, and who doesn’t like that. Skirt stake, chorizo sausage, short rib, blood sausage, and the list goes on.

They have many combo platter that you can share so don’t be concerned that you’ll miss out. Also each combo comes with your choice of sides. I’ve had a bunch of them and they’ve all been good. Last time and I had sauteed spinach, just to mix it up a bit, but you might want to go with the plantains or fried yuca.

I like to start with the potato croquet, the rice one is good, but the potato is the dopeness. I would suggest not going on Sunday evening, which I’ve done twice, its most likely the busiest day. If you near by, eat here.